WITF’s fourth climate action video addresses carbon emissions caused by transportation, which account for about 1/3 of the world’s greenhouse gas production right now. If you can walk, bike, or take public transportation when you go out that will greatly reduce your carbon footprint. However, walking and biking is obviously not always an option, so what are some things you can do to reduce your fuel emissions while using your car?
The best "green" options in the car industry right now are electric cars. These vehicles run on battery instead of fossil fuels. For example, in a study done by MIT, they found that gas-powered cars produce 350 grams of CO2 per mile while battery-powered cars produce 200 grams of CO2 per mile. Even with a shorter lifespan than gas-run vehicles, these newer cars are much more environmentally friendly. However, even these cars have their environmental drawbacks. The mining techniques used to extract minerals for the car batteries must be strong, or there is a risk of major pollution to waterways. Thankfully, the batteries for electric cars can be recycled with 95% of the lithium recovered and able to be reused again.
Obviously, electric cars are not an option for everyone! For those who have or plan to have gas-fueled cars for the time being, there are many smaller eco-friendly tasks you can practice to lower your car’s emissions.
Angela Sanguinetti, a research environmental psychologist at the University of California, says that to reduce your fuel emissions you can try practicing “easier acceleration, maintaining a cruising speed, and avoid hard braking.” And, obviously, don’t leave your car running when you don’t have to! WITF News also recommends running your errands all at once instead of spreading them throughout the day. Making less trips home will shorten your route overall.
If you want to be even more fuel efficient, only fill up your fuel tank during the cooler parts of the day. When the weather is warmer, gas will evaporate into the atmosphere while pumping into your car more than it would when the sun is low! You can also use google maps to map out your route for you. It’ll show you the most eco-friendly path to take, leading you on roads that will use the least amount of fuel to drive on by factoring in road conditions and your engine type. Google can also find you flights that produce the least amount of fossil fuels, such as direct flights as opposed to flights with layovers.
Being aware of your fuel economy, or the amount of emissions your transportation causes, is very important when it comes to being eco-conscious. It’s always a good thing to understand what your carbon footprint is, and how you can become more energy efficient.
What can I do about climate change? Part 4: Getting Around. WITF News. https://www.instagram.com/p/CwpLcVzIpjc/
M, Andrew. Are electric vehicles definitely better for the environment than gas-powered cars? MIT Climate Portal. https://climate.mit.edu/ask-mit/are-electric-vehicles-definitely-better-climate-gas-powered-cars
Mining for electric car batteries: lithium, cobalt, copper, and other minerals and materials. ClimateNexus. https://climatenexus.org/climate-issues/energy/electric-car-batteries-impacts/
P, Kajal. Are EV Batteries Recyclable? Your Questions Answered. CBC News. https://www.cbc.ca/news/science/ask-electric-vehicle-battery-faq-1.6468646